In spite of the huge presence of security men for today’s rerun for some National and state Assembly seats in Rivers State, there is thick fear of violence in the state. And the fear that is hinged on the incessant violence and killings that have totally ruptured the peace enjoyed in the state prior to the 2015 general elections, may affect voters’ turnout today. The killings, allegedly instigated by some political gladiators, who want power by all means, had worsened after the Appeal Court annulled the election of the legislative seats that would be re-contested today.
Less than 24 hours to the scheduled polls, anxiety has enveloped the state leading some residents to leave Rivers for neighbouring states. Some junctions in the state, yesterday, witnessed heavy gridlock as people were leaving Port Harcourt in droves. The palpable fear deepened based on an interim injunction secured by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from a State High Court, Wednesday, barring the Nigerian Army from participating in the rerun elections. Based on suit PHC/601/2016, filed by the PDP, Justice G O Omereji, ordered: “That an Order of Interim Injunction be and is hereby made restraining the 1st (Hon. Chibuike Amaechi) 5th ( INEC) and 6th ( REC) respondents from the use and deployment of the 2nd (Chief of Defence Staff) 3rd (Chief of Army Staff) and 4th (Brig-Gen. Steve Olabanji) respondents whether by themselves, their agents, servants, operatives or privies to conduct, monitor and supervise the state and National Assembly rerun.
” The knowledge that the military may not be part of the elections today worsened the situation of voters. Some residents told Saturday Vanguard that they would not take part in today’s elections because of the fear that armed men may invade some polling units to unleash mayhem.